Considering that I don’t celebrate Halloween (I’m an Orthodox Jew) I’m probably the last person that you’d expect to be writing this piece.
We have a holiday called Purim that takes place a bit later in the year, but involves—nay, REQUIRES—awesome costumes, as well. I take a bit of pride in putting together what I think are good costumes for my kids every year, and what’s more, I’ve learned something new each year, and so with Halloween rapidly approaching, I thought I’d share a few of my best tips with you today.
1. Take advantage of your powerless kids while they’re young.
As time has gone on, I’ve upped the ante for myself, so to speak, to the point where I feel like I have to outdo last year’s costumes each time. However, for this first point, I’m going to take you back a few years, to my son’s first Purim. Being a new mom, I wanted to dress him in something cute and cuddly and soft, and I had bought him an adorable cow costume (HALF PRICE right after Halloween, thank you very much) a few months earlier. And really, if I tried to dress him in that today, I think he’d roll his eyes at me and/or throw a huge, “NO”-filled tantrum. But back then? Haha, sucker. Mama wants a cowbaby, and she is GETTING a cowbaby. There’s only so long that you can get away with this, so strike while you can, and fulfill all your vicarious costume wishes while they’re one or two years old.
2. Be creative, even with store-bought costumes:
Even though the costume was cute by itself, I suppose I still wanted to take the costume and, in the words of Paula Abdul, “make it my own.” (Well, if they were actually her words, it would sound more like “Maaakitcherowwwwwnnn butterfly cabbage firetruck sparkles,” BUT I DIGRESS.) And so, I found my son a wee cowbell, and stenciled “MORE COWBELL on his back,” as an homage to the greatest SNL sketch ever.
3. It’s all in the details
It’s the little things that take a costume from “aww, cute” to HOLY AWESOME.” For our son’s second annual Purim costume, my husband and I quickly settled on Old (Sweaty, Jumpsuit-Wearing) Elvis. (See above, re: Dressing them in stuff you want, before they realize they have a say.) We found the perfect bell bottomed, spangled velour jumpsuit online, but wanted to really make the costume authentic. Old Elvis is known for his sideburns and glasses, so we fashioned a pair, added a gold chain necklace, pompadour-ed his hair, and handed him his guitar. There was NO doubt as to who he was, and people literally cracked up when they saw him coming. Mission accomplished!
4. Sigh…FINE. Listen to your kids.
As I alluded to earlier, there will come a time when your child will have very clear, definitive ideas of what he or she wants to be for Halloween and/or Purim. Although you may have your heart set on some brilliant Kate Gosselin costume for your little one, she may stamp her foot and demand to be a princess; I say listen to her. This past year, my son told me no less than three times that he wanted to be a “rock star.” I found a costume for him (Pleather pants, fake tattoo sleeves, etc.), gussied it up with some colored hair spray and a bandana, and he was THRILLED. And seeing him that happy more than made up for the fact that my toothless, grizzled coal miner costume idea wasn’t going to happen. (It seemed like a good idea at the time, okay?!)
5. Make lemonade out of lemons.
Sometimes, you don’t even need to set foot outside your house to pull together the PERFECT costume. My daughter’s first Purim was this past year, and I couldn’t figure out a costume for her. And then it hit me—you know that bag of heinous baby gifts that have no tags and REALLY just needs to go to Goodwill already, but somehow is still smooshed away in your closet? CHECK IT. Because in so doing, I realized that these heinous jeans…
…would help her be the PERFECT hippie for Purim:
And all we needed to buy to complete the look was a $1 peace sign headband.
So, good luck to you in putting together your kids’ costumes, and a Happy Halloween to you all!
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